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Jerry Sandusky: Histrionic Personality Disorder?

Prosecutors call him a “serial” predator, but defense attorneys are expected to argue this week that Jerry Sandusky is simply misunderstood. They are proposing he is a man suffering from a dramatic personality disorder known as histrionic personality disorder.

“I think it’s one of the rarer personality disorders. I probably have only seen it in my career of 30 years a handful of times,” said Dr. John Lemoncelli.

Dr. Lemoncelli is a professor of psychology and counseling at Marywood University in Scranton.

He has written a book about sexual abuse and his most recent book, released in April, is specifically about childhood abuse.

According to a medical encyclopedia, histrionic personality disorder is ‘a condition in which people act in a very emotional and dramatic way that draws attention to themselves. ‘

Symptoms an include:

-believing relationships are more intimate that they are

-needing to be the center of attention

-being overly dramatic or emotional

Dr. Lemoncelli said not only is it a rare disorder, it is one that affects women more than men and tends to “burn out” as a person ages.

Jerry Sandusky is in his late sixties.

“When you have one of these disroders, it takes a tremendous amount of energy every day and when you hit, 64, you don’t quite have the energy you had when you were thirty, so it begins to in a sense, lessen,” said Dr. Lemoncelli.

As for whether Jerry Sandusky does indeed have histrionic personality disorder, Dr. Lemoncelli says he cannot say for sure.

He has never met nor spoken with Sandusky, but he does not believe the symptoms fit.

“I don’t see it. It just doesn’t fit the way I understand histrionic personality disorder. “


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